News item

Trading standards court victory for alarm rogues

Hillingdon Council has scored a courtroom victory after a jury found three rogue traders guilty of mis-selling alarms to elderly residents across the country over the space of two years.

The case was brought against rogue traders David Diaz, Ludovic Black and Gary McVey, by Hillingdon Council, who owned a company called SAS Fire and Security Systems Ltd. It concluded on Tuesday 22 May at Harrow Crown Court after a two a half month long trial. The jury unanimously convicted the trio of engaging in unfair commercial practices.

SAS salesmen sold burglar alarms by cold calling potential buyers and persuading them to allow an employee to visit and offer an alarm for free, or a £1. During the visit it would transpire that to get the so-called free alarm it was necessary to spend thousands on a monitoring contract.

Hillingdon Council Leader, Councillor Ray Puddifoot, said: "Our hard work has paid off and we got the result in court that we were looking for. This was a lengthy and challenging investigation by our Trading Standards officers that involved more than 100 witnesses, many of whom were elderly. These men had been targeting people across the country and I am very proud to say that when it came to the crunch it was Hillingdon Council that delivered the case to court. We are pleased that these men were found guilty and we will continue to fight against rogue traders trying to take advantage of residents."

Borough resident, Michael Heavens, who appeared in court to give evidence because he was targeted by the crooks, has praised the council for their work in helping to catch them and bring them to justice.

Mr Heavens, 84, said: "I congratulate the council for looking after us residents and taking this to court.

"I had one salesman come round my house quoting me £15,000 for the alarm system, I had told him I needed to think about it and to come back the next day but later that day a council officer came to tell me he had been arrested and they had found my address in his van. So, luckily I was saved from ever making a decision about the alarm."

Diaz, Black and McVey are due to be sentenced at the end of June. The maximum penalty is two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Hillingdon Council will be making a proceeds of crime application which will be determined by the courts at a later date.

Notes to editors:

Mcvey, 30, and Black, 31 are from Cheshire.

Diaz, is 28 and from Glasgow.

Verity Adams
Media Relations Officer
Corporate Communications
London Borough of Hillingdon
tel:     internal: 0599
tel:     external: 01895 250599